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Vegetable Torta with Fresh Basil

Vegetable Torta with Fresh Basil
Serves: Serves 8 (one 10-inch torta)
Prep time: Best made 1 to 2 days ahead, if refrigerated  |  

Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
• 3 zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 3 yellow summer squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
•1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
• 6 large eggs
• 1/4 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• About 3 cups day-old bread, in 1/2 inch cubes
• 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
• 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) shredded Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF, if baking immediately.  Brush the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with oil.  To prevent leaking, wrap the outside of the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. 
    In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and peppers and saute until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and basil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the bread cubes and the cheeses.
    Add the sauteed vegetables to the bread mixture and stir with a large rubber spatula to combine.  Transfer to the prepared pan and pack the mixture tightly.  Place the pan on a baking sheet.
    Bake for about 1 hour, until firm to the touch, puffed, and golden brown. Serve warm or cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.
   


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